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At Swim Two Boys

O"Neill, Jamie

ISBN 10: 0743222946 / ISBN 13: 9780743222945
Published by New York: Scribner, 2002, 2002
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From P.F. Mullins Books (Carlsbad, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Hard Cover. Near Fine/Near Fine. Fourth Printing. Signed Bookplate By the Author. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. 572 pp., The author has signed a bookplate from the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild afixed to the FEP. Bookseller Inventory # 4551

Bibliographic Details

Title: At Swim Two Boys

Publisher: New York: Scribner, 2002

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed Bookplate By the Author

Edition: Fourth Printing

About this title

Synopsis:

Set against the backdrop of Dublin in 1915, a powerful epic of love, history, and culture revisits a crucial time in Irish history by following two young boys, who meet at the local swimming hole, as they plan a challenging swim to an island in Dublin Bay the following Easter, but their plans coincide with the Easter uprising--a historic rebellion that forever changes Ireland and the lives of these two boys. 40,000 first printing.

Review:

You may have read the hype. Irishman Jamie O'Neill was working as a London hospital porter when his 10-year labor of love, the 200,000-word manuscript of At Swim, Two Boys, written on a laptop during quiet patches at work, was suddenly snapped up for a hefty six-figure advance. For once, the book fully deserves the hype.

In the spring of 1915, Jim Mack and "the Doyler," two Dublin boys, make a pact to swim to an island in Dublin Bay the following Easter. By the time they do, Dublin has been consumed by the Easter Uprising, and the boys' friendship has blossomed into love--a love that will in time be overtaken by tragedy. O'Neill's prose, playing merrily with vocabulary, syntax, and idiom, has unsurprisingly drawn comparisons to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, but in his creation of comic characters (such as Jim's pathetic but irrepressible father) and in the sheer scale of his work, Charles Dickens springs to mind first. But Dickens never wrote a love story between young men as achingly beautiful as this.

In the character of Anthony MacMurrough, who is haunted by voices as he pursues his illegal and dangerous desire for Dublin boys, O'Neill has created a complex and fascinating center to his novel, rescuing the love story from mawkishness, and allowing a serious meditation on history, politics, and desire. For as Ireland seeks its own future free of British government, so Jim, Doyle, and MacMurrough look back to Sparta to find a way to live. As Dr Scrotes, one of MacMurrough's voices, commands:

Help these boys build a nation of their own. Ransack the histories for clues to their past. Plunder the literature for words they can speak.
In this massive, enthralling, and brilliant debut, Jamie O'Neill has indeed done just that: provided a nation for what Walt Whitman calls, in O'Neill's epigraph, "the love of comrades." --Alan Stewart, Amazon.co.uk

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